Will Valve Port Half-Life: Alyx to MacOS?

There is good reason to be hopeful for a MacOS port


Back in 2017 at WWDC Apple surprised the world by making graphics power the focus of their new line of Macs. For the first time 21.5 inch iMacs were getting discrete GPUs, the 27 inch iMac was finally able to be configured with desktop class graphics, and–of course–the iMac Pro was announced. A suite of new software technologies were also introduced like the metal 2 API that allowed greater graphics performance, and most surprisingly official support for virtual reality included in MacOS High Sierra.

Not only did Apple make VR a focus of the presentation, they also made a point of highlighting their partnership with Valve. The Vive headset was used in all the VR presentations and Apple made sure to mention that Valve was able to port Steam VR to Mac. Although Steam VR gaming on MacOS was very slow to start, a surprising number of games are now listed with both VR and Mac support on Steam, including Valve’s own Dota 2. Which raises the question: will we ever see Half-Life: Alyx ported to Mac?

As the first new Valve game in quite some time, its understandable that Valve decided to focus on the main OS for PC gaming, Windows, for their initial release. But there are already good signs for those willing to wait for a MacOS release.

First is the game’s engine, Source 2. Source 2 already uses the Metal graphics API on Mac for Dota 2, and the performance is very good. Compared to older games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 runs without the stutter and hitching common to non-Metal games on Mac, and it often achieves frame rates comparable to Windows. These features will be necessary for a VR experience on Mac to be enjoyable, and they should already be there for Half-Life: Alyx.

Second is Valve’s general ethos with PC gaming. If Half-Life: Alyx never makes it to Mac it would be the first major Valve release to do so. The small open-source game Alien Swarm released in 2010 is the only other game Valve has made without a Mac port. Valve has made cross-platform PC development a priority ever since releasing SteamOS, and there is little reason to believe Half-Life: Alyx would be an exception.

Thankfully those willing to use Bootcamp to install Windows onto their Mac won’t have to wait for the MacOS version. The game will unlock later today on Steam. If you buy it before then it comes with a 10% discount.

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